John Fetterman’s health and Mehmet Oz’s stance on abortion take center stage in crucial Senate debate

The long-awaited showdown between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz finally took place on a debate stage in Harrisburg on Tuesday, two weeks before voters decide which man to send to the US Senate and help determine which party will hold the gavel. in January. .

The debate showed Mr Fetterman, 53, struggling with auditory processing problems which are the lingering effects of a stroke he suffered in May. He opened his remarks to the public by saying “good night everyone”, and at times struggled to speak specifically about his own solutions to inflation, high housing and energy prices.

He often returned to attacking Mr. Oz and his wealth.

Mr Fetterman’s campaign team released a memo earlier today lowering expectations for his performance. Mr Fetterman has mostly avoided speaking at length in public or answering questions and his appearance in the debate marked his longest interaction with the public since the stroke.

Mr. Fetterman was given special accommodations to help him deal with the questions. The monitors displayed closed captions to help Mr. Fetterman process the moderators’ questions and Mr. Oz’s responses.

“I might miss a few words during this debate, I might smash a few words together, it might knock me down but I keep picking myself up,” Mr. Fetterman said.

SEE ALSO: Fetterman Says Stroke Won’t Stop Him, But Avoids Release of His Medical Records

Mr Oz, 62, a famous heart surgeon who hosted a TV show, avoided focusing on Mr Fetterman’s physical and mental limitations, which he questioned earlier in his campaign. Instead, he worked to define Mr. Fetterman as a far-left politician out of step with many Pennsylvanians, especially on crime. Mr. Oz pointed to Mr. Fetterman’s past support for the parole of dangerous criminals.

Mr. Oz said Mr. Fetterman would raise taxes and do nothing to stop illegal immigrants from flooding the southern border, Mr. Oz said. He also accused Mr. Fetterman of failing to pay his taxes.

“These are radical positions, they’re extreme, and they’re out of touch with Pennsylvanians,” Oz said. Mr Fetterman said the unpaid taxes were linked to a non-profit organization and were eventually paid.

Mr. Fetterman has criticized Mr. Oz as the state’s out-of-touch, working-class wealthy upholsterer and he has frequently taken to social media to attack his GOP opponent, taking to Twitter moments before the debate began.

“Expect Dr. Oz to spit tons of BS tonight,” Mr. Fetterman tweeted.

Mr. Fetterman and Mr. Oz clashed over abortion. Mr. Fetterman said Mr. Oz held sweeping rules on limiting abortion, while Mr. Oz said Mr. Fetterman would support abortion up to 38 weeks. Mr. Fetterman said he supported Roe v. Wade’s 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion, which was overturned in June. Mr Oz said states should decide the limits of the procedure.

SEE ALSO: Fetterman changes tone on fracking, says he supports development of Pennsylvania’s rich energy resources

Mr. Fetterman struggled to defend a past interview and other statements in which he said he opposed fracking, a critical industry in Pennsylvania. “I have always supported fracking,” Mr. Fettermans said, unable to explain his earlier opposition.

Mr Oz said he also supports hydraulic fracturing, returning to a 2014 opinion piece in which he said it should be halted until it is investigated for health risks.

The Pennsylvania Senate race is considered a draw by most political analysts. Recent polls show that Mr. Oz has come within two points of Mr. Fetterman, who is the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Oz, whose primary bid was bolstered by the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, said he would support Mr. Trump if he ran again in 2024. Mr. Fetterman said that he supported President Biden, but he could do more. to fight inflation.

“I think Joe Biden is a good, good family man,” Mr. Fetterman said. “And I believe he represents the union way of life.”

Both parties poured tens of millions of dollars into the race, while outside groups set a new record, spending $131 million, split roughly evenly, to back the two candidates, the watchdog group reported. OpenSecrets campaign spend.

Republicans are increasing their spending in the final weeks of the campaign. Two GOP political action committees are spending $6 million in an effort to help Mr. Oz defeat Mr. Fetterman. The GOP is eager to retain the seat, which was left open when Republican Sen. Pat. Toomey has announced that he will not seek a third term.

During the debate, Mr. Fetterman would not commit to disclosing his medical records at the request of the debate moderator.

“My doctor thinks I’m fit to serve and that’s what I think where I stand,” Mr. Fetterman said. “Transparency is about showing up.”

Mr. Oz accused Mr. Fetterman of dodging questions from voters and the media during the campaign trail and mostly avoiding public appearances.

“You hid them from them,” Mr. Oz said.


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